The South Congress Merchants Association (SCMA) will add an installation by long-time Austin artist Rory Skagen to the robust collection of colorful facades, creative installations, murals, and vintage and new neon signs that are a common thread of the South Congress Business District.
The South Congress Merchants Association has been working with the City’s Economic Development Department, Souly Austin Program, a partner in this project for the last two years.
Selected through a partnership with SCMA, the property owners with input from the merchant community defined the direction of the project. Rory Skagen shared, “The new install continues in the tradition of my work following the Greetings from Austin mural, while being unique to South Congress, the colors illustrate my mood and memories of visiting South Congress while shopping, dining or staying in one of the avenues fine hotels. The nod to the history of South Congress was deliberate. Having visited South Congress since 1992 the memories change into nostalgia as time goes by. This kind of nostalgia has happened over the generations since 1852. I find that amazing.”
The intertwined creative installations and retail experience of South Congress illustrates Austin’s, cultural evolution over time. This funky, ever-growing collection of local artist contributions and entrepreneurs has created one of the most iconic retail experiences in the country and serves doses of both nostalgia and new discovery as it evolves.
“Creating cohesion among businesses and excitement among patrons these spots are some of the most photographed spaces in Austin,” shared Nicole Klepadlo with the City of Austin. “Merchants identified the creative installations throughout the district as a major asset they bring to their patrons, the retail experience and to Austin as a whole. The District has visually and artistically evolved, creating history, sustaining history and serving as a staple destination for locals and travelers.”
This new addition to the District collection will live on Hudson Meats, a business that has called South Congress home since 1968. The project pays homage to a true legacy business who has been operating on South Congress for 50 years. In addition to the 3D installation, SCMA has the option to integrate the image into the retail experience through a new product line that spans the entire district and provides a mechanism for organizational sustainability.
The project will be completed by October 10th and serves a symbol of the strength and hard work of the merchant and property owner community and their commitment to enriching the district’s visual, musical and retail culture. Merchants shared that this new piece is the “latest addition to the selfie scavenger hunt along South Congress Avenue,” and to them this postcard is also a “reminder that all are welcome on South Congress.”
“Rory Skagen’s historic view of the skyline is a colorful reminder that while Austin may keep changing, South Congress will always be our city’s most picturesque gateway,” shared Michael Portman from Birds Barbershop, and a Merchants Association Board Member.
The installation was made possible through a collaboration between the South Congress Merchants Association, Hudson’s Meats, Public City, the South Congress Improvement Association and the City’s Economic Development Department’s Souly Austin Program.
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